Open Science Conference

Brainbox Initiative: Open Science in NIBS

Null results are under reported in clinical and basic research. Open science methods can address these issues, which promote transparency and reproducibility in research practice. Approaches such as pre-registration enable research to be published before results are known, which places an emphasis on sound methods instead of only the results. This event aims to promote and establish open science in non-invasive brain stimulation and neuroimaging by sharing current practices, results of pre-registered experiments and the future of open science.

Join us on August 4, 2020 for a virtual open science conference, organised in collaboration with the British Neuroscience Association, in which we bring together field-leading experts to explore and examine open science practices in non-invasive brain stimulation research. Across four hours of talks, presentations, and interactive Q&A discussion panels, we will explore the history and contemporary context of open science in non-invasive brain stimulation; learn about exciting new initiatives geared towards the promotion and encouragement of open science; and gain exciting insights into the potential benefits and opportunities that the adoption of open science techniques can offer neuroscience researchers in the future.

Dr Paul Taylor of LMU Munich joins us as chair of this open science conference as we welcome some of the field’s most influential researchers keen to inspire, promote, and encourage the sharing of open science in this free event. Full schedule to be confirmed soon.

Session Start TimeTalk TitleSession Leader
13:00Webinar Introduction & Welcome AddressDr Paul Taylor
13:15Confirmatory studies and registered reports: tools to restore confidence in empirical researchDr Birte Forstmann
13:45Investigating Recurrent Brain Processing with Open Science MethodsDr Chris Allen
14:15Increasing Objectivity, Reliability, and Validity in Non-invasive Brain Stimulation ResearchDr Til Ole Bergmann
14:45Why & How we Should Embrace Open ScienceDr Emily Sena
15:30Question & Answer SessionLed by Dr Paul Taylor
16:00Closing RemarksDr Paul Taylor

Webinar Speakers & Talks

Dr Paul Taylor

Open Science Conference Chair

I am interested in the developing relationship between science and society, its impact on non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS), and how NIBS may affect the science-society interaction in return. I am interested in open science as one of the most fundamental ways to engage the broader public in science, and also because it manifests an interesting development in the science community itself.

Confirmatory studies and registered reports: tools to restore confidence in empirical research

The culture of science is changing. Faced with the realisation that much research in the life sciences is unreliable (Academy of Medical Sciences, 2015; Munafò et al., 2017), researchers, journals and funders are mobilising to elevate transparency and reproducibility up the agenda. Among a wide range of open science initiatives, open data, open materials/code, and preregistration of study protocols are becoming increasingly regarded as desirable, if not essential, in the pursuit of scientific discovery.

In this talk, I will present different article types including Registered Reports, replication and null-finding articles which represent one way of restoring confidence in empirical research. Next to these article types, I will discuss the aim to reduce bias in hypothesis-driven science by eliminating publication bias for positive findings and by limiting the selective reporting of certain outcomes.

Chris Allen

Investigating recurrent brain processing with open science methods.

This talk will describe two lines of research conducted using open science methods. The first involves interference with feed forward and later recurrent cortical processing, in relation to consciousness, using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. The second aspect of recurrent processing concerns cortical oscillations, where I will present published and pilot magnetoencephalographic data testing a proposed function for cortical oscillations. These investigations incrementally applied open science methods and were some of the first in their field to adopt study pre-registration. I will discuss some of the challenges and benefits I have encountered in conducting it.

Til Ole Bergmann

Increasing Objectivity, Reliability, and Validity in Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Research

Research using non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) principally faces the same challenges as research based on any other neuroscientific technique, and therefore the three key determinants of a good experiment apply: objectivity, reliability, and validity. From a conceptual point of view, Open Science is not so much a revolutionary idea, but simply a reminder to cherish the first two of these classical virtues (objectivity and reliability) to achieve reproducibility. The third virtue (validity) additionally requires careful experimental design to ensure that there are actually meaningful results that can be reproduced. In this talk, I will give examples for how I believe each one of these aspects can be improved: Firstly (validity), I will discuss, how cause-effect relationships can be inferred from NIBS studies and which confounds need to be controlled for experimentally to allow a valid conclusion (Bergmann & Hartwigsen, J Cog Neurosci 2020; Secondly (reliability), I will present the “TACS Challenge” (@TACSchallenge;, an international multi-centre initiative testing across many labs (N = 30) and in a large overall sample (N = 600) whether TACS can produce robust behavioural online effects that result from phasic current modulation in the brain and not from sensory confounds. Thirdly (objectivity), I will introduce the Brain Electrophysiological recording and Stimulation (BEST) toolbox (, an open source MATLAB suite for automating and standardizing NIBS studies, allowing to design and run experiments, to save data and parameters, and to analyse and display EMG/EEG results. I hope these examples make a small contribution to increase scientific rigor in NIBS research.

Dr Emily Sena

Why & How we Should Embrace Open Science

Dr Emily Sena, University of Edinburgh. Emily is a Stroke Association Kirby Laing Foundation Senior Non-Clinical Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. She is specialised in the validity of preclinical research. Her interests are in the use of meta-research approaches (research on research) to drive improvements in the validity, transparency and reproducibility of primary research using animal models of human diseases. Her work has informed laboratory practice guidelines, editorial policy and clinical trials design. Emily is the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of BMJ Open Science, and convenor of CAMARADES.